Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Introducing Linda Jones...

... who writes children's books.  Hello Linda and thanks for being here today.  Tell me all about following the fantasy...

It was April 2020, and at last, I was preparing to write Cavern’s Fall, the third book in the children’s magical fantasy series. Yet, I couldn’t throw off a disturbing sense of being ‘disconnected from reality’.
The storyline was mapped out. I could envisage the characters - the action – all the component parts were ticking over in my brain, ready to fly out onto the computer screen. Those words refused to budge. They stuck in my head like a clogged drain. Each night, as I tried to drift off to sleep, the story would play out in my head; seamlessly animated, the words flowing. 
Two books into the Oozing Magic series for 7 to 10-year-olds; I honestly thought the process would be easier the third time around. There again – I hadn’t foreseen the sudden deluge of self-doubt, compounded in no small way by the arrival of a Pandemic! 
Cut to July and I finally began to make some headway. Given the storyline was set at Halloween and, there were illustrations, editing deadlines to be met, was I worried? 
Oh, just a little! 
Writing for children of any age is never easy. They are, as I’ve discovered over the past four years, the keenest of critics. So, I am quite sure the underlying sense of urgency I was experiencing, impacted Cavern’s Fall. It certainly doesn't take long before the two main characters, Dylan and Emily are plunged into the action. 
As soon as the proverbial ink was dry on my computer screen, David Hailwood, illustrator and editor extraordinaire, leapt into action. Illustrators like David are a rare breed. Patient, incredibly talented, who can extract ideas from this author’s scribbles and transform them into amazing pieces of artwork. 
It’s usually when deadlines are tight or I’m feeling particularly frustrated, that I wish I had the comfort of a traditional publisher to fall back on. Someone to take on the burden of formatting, prepping for launch and publication days. But those moments are a rarity. There is a huge amount of satisfaction in opening up the first box of my books, knowing that all the hours of angst were worth it. 
I’m very pleased to say Cavern’s Fall made it to market and with days to spare. Although, as with so many other parts of our lives in these strange times, it’s been impossible to celebrate it’s ‘birth’ with the usual fanfare. Social media is no compensation for a face-to-face book launch. Zoom isn’t quite the same as a group of excited children sitting in front of me, listening avidly. Those shy conversations as we talk about our favourite bits from the other stories. The thrill of handing over a copy of my book in person…
However – what I do have is my laptop, fingers that work - most of the time - and a head full of stories desperate to escape. 

about the book… It’s Halloween – which is usually Dylan and Emily’s favourite time of year.
But this year there’s going to be a full moon, and the smell of bad magic is in the air. It would be far safer to stay at home and lock all the doors and windows… Dylan barely has time to set foot inside the 'Spooky Party In The Park' before he and his sister Emily are plunged into another breathtaking adventure. Almost captured by a mysterious veiled Flinyor, they are chased by monstrous flying Begrogs, while they race to try and save their friends Snifflebit and Quintus... and that’s just the beginning! Somewhere deep inside a mountain, the Flinyor have imprisoned their grandfather. Can they outrun the Begrogs and Flinyor guards to find him in time – and will they finally discover the secrets he’s been keeping from them? 

about the author… Once upon a time, when the world was very different - I was a Psychiatric nurse. Now, I'm a storyteller and Independent Author/publisher, with five books under my belt. As a writer of children's fiction, I enjoy delving into the worlds of fantasy and adventure. Throw in a healthy dollop of science fiction and I'm very happy. 
Originally from South Wales (UK), I have always loved listening to stories and grew up on a rich diet of Welsh and Greek myths and legends, so it isn't so surprising my books are full of weird creatures! 
Right now, I'm to be found roosting near Pontefract, West Yorkshire, where the rain tastes and smells pretty much the same as the Welsh valleys. 

You can find the books on Amazon and you can follow Linda on her Website or on Facebook

And if you are an author, with a connection to Yorkshire and wish to know more about us or to join us then check out our Website 

Look out for more Yorkshire authors in the coming weeks...

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

I am very pleased to announce...

...that Jacques Forêt is back with a new and testing case...

I've decided to re-schedule the post that I had planned to run today because I have some very exciting news that I would like to share.

After several months of working on a very different project, I'm finally back with Jacques and his little team in the city of Mende.  Yes, that means that Book 5 in the series will be hitting the shelves on March 23rd, next year.  The book will be the first one published by Darkstroke Books - my publisher - in 2021.

Yes, I know it's been quite a while since the last one, but time seems to move very fast these days and before we all know it, March will be here along with the next story.  And during the intervening months I will be letting you have little bits and pieces of information about the characters, the story and the location I'm using for the setting in the book.

Just to give a very early hint of what's in store for you, here's the blurb :

On a quiet forest walk, Investigator Jacques Forêt encounters a sinister scene.  Convinced there is evidence of malicious intent, he treats his discovery as a crime scene.

But intent for what?  Without a body, how can he be sure that a crime has been - or is about to be - committed?  Without a body, how can Jacques be sure that it’s murder, and not suicide?  Without a body, how can the perpetrator be found?

A baffling case that tests Jacques to his limits.

#Mercœur will be published in print and e-format on March 23rd, 2021.  You can read more about the story and the setting Here  Here  and  Here

You can pre-order your copy using the link :  Mercœur


Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Introducing Phill Featherstone...

...a fellow writer from Yorkshire and a member of Promoting Yorkshire Authors.  Hi Phill, thanks for being here and the floor is yours...

‘How did you know it was coming?’ That’s what one reader asked me on reading the final book in my REBOOT series. What prompted her comment was the subject. REBOOT is about a pandemic. Sadly that’s a very topical theme at the moment, and my reader credited me with being a prophet. Not surprisingly I am no such thing. The first book in the series, ‘Paradise Girl’, came out three years ago and had been conceived two years before. So what was it that gave me this idea?
It was simple, and sudden. At the time I was living in the country, my closest neighbour a long way away. I was alone in the house struggling with an idea that wasn’t going well. I went out into the garden and was struck by how still everything was. Even in the country there’s always some noise - birdsong, sheep bleating, a dog barking, a distant tractor, but this time there was nothing, and it felt as though I was the only living thing. Suppose I was? I thought. What might cause that? What would happen and how would I cope? It soon dawned on me that it would be a great theme for a story. But the main character shouldn’t be me, a grown man with a lot of miles under his belt. It should be someone much younger, a teenager with their life and all its promise before them. I went indoors and started to write and Kerryl, the heroine of Paradise Girl walked onto the page. 
A story about a pandemic isn’t an original idea. There are plenty of books and movies based on this theme. That’s not surprising, because actually there aren’t many plots at all – it’s been suggested less than ten – and there are certainly no new ones. What are they? 

1.  Rags to riches, and maybe back again; 
2.  Boy/girl meets boy/girl, wins them, and maybe loses them too; 
3.  The hero/heroine sets out on a journey to find something lost or achieve a goal; 
4.  Somebody with the world at their feet makes a mistake, often because of a fault in their own character, and loses everything; 
5.  Somebody who has been wronged looks for – and takes – revenge; 
6.  The hero/heroine has to cope in a challenging environment, often alone – e.g. marooned on an island, in space, quarantined; 
7.  A character is so consumed by jealousy that their personality becomes distorted and they act in ways that would have been inconceivable before; 
8.  The hero/heroine confronts a person or organisation much more powerful than they are, and has to draw on all their resources to survive; 
9.  A character or event from the past suddenly appears and overturns the status quo. 

It’s fun to go through books you’ve read and movies or tv dramas you’ve seen and match them to this list. Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver’s Travels, Love Actually, Skyfall, Mars, Hamlet, Normal People, you name it. I’d be surprised if you find one that isn’t based on one of these ideas. Of course, many incorporate more than one, and various elements are brought in to add drama or facilitate the plot – for example dreams, prophecies, chance, an order. 
What does that mean for the writer? It doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to say, because every time one of these plots appears it’s in a fresh context brought about by a new telling. What it does mean is that we always have plenty to write about. If you’re stuck for ideas for your next novel, try this. Take a character – newspaper reports are a good source – pick one of the numbers above and develop a story involving your character and the theme you’ve chosen. Pick another number and incorporate that. Write your best seller. 

about the author… Phill was born and brought up in northern England. His first job was as a
teacher, and from this he went into education advisory work. He left to start with Sally, his wife, a company publishing educational materials. It was not until this business was sold, after ten years, that he found the time to give to writing. Paradise Girl, book 1 in a trilogy about a pandemic (the REBOOT series) appeared in 2017. Book 2, Aftershocks, came out in 2019 and book 3, Jericho Rose, in 2020. Phill has also written The God Jar, a mystery set partly in the present day and partly in Elizabethan times. His fifth novel, A Summer of Dreams, is due in the spring of 2021. 
When he’s not writing, Phill enjoys the theatre, galleries and museums, walking, and playing the saxophone.

You can get the books Here  You can follow Phill on Facebook  and on Twitter

Look out for more Yorkshire authors in the coming weeks... 

And if you are an author, with a connection to Yorkshire and wish to know more about us or to join us then check out our 

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

One hundred years ago this month, one of my favourite authors released onto the unsuspecting world a character that captivated my imagination and stayed with me throughout my life.  That author was Agatha Christie and that character was her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.  He made his first appearance in The Mysterious Affair at Styles which was published in America in October 1920.  Unfortunately for us Brits, Poirot would not make it across the Atlantic until January 1921 when the book was published here.
I first came across detective fiction as a bored 12 year old who strayed across from the children’s section of the library to where all the books for adults were shelved.  Being a highly methodical child I began my browsing at the letter A.  My fist detective story was A Bone and a Hank of Hair by Leo Bruce.  Even now I can remember the cover and his amateur detective was Carolus Deene.  I can distinctly recall thinking what a ridiculous name Carolus was.  But my education at that point was incomplete and I had no idea that Carolus was the latinised version of the German name Carl which meant ‘free man’.  I got my book stamped by the librarian, who gave me an odd look when doing so, and I took it home and devoured it.  The pages had been well thumbed by many other readers so the book had been around for a while.  However, Carolus Deene, I thought, wasn’t really so clever, as I worked the ending before he did!
On further trips to the library I continued my search for these puzzle books as I thought of them, little understanding the complexity of the genre, nor realizing they fell into the category of cosy crime.  On reaching letter C, I not only discovered Agatha Christie but I also found Raymond Chandler, Leslie Charteris, G. K. Chesterton and Wilkie Collins.  By this time, I’d got used to the regular interrogations from the lady at the library and whenever she raised an eyebrow at one of my choices, I told her the queried book was for my dad!  But I was hooked.
My first ever Agatha Christie was Why Didn’t they Ask Evans?  And no that’s not a Poirot book, but the puzzle she so carefully laid out kept me guessing right until the end.  My first ever Poirot story was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, first published in 1926.  From that point on I knew I would be reading every other story that featured this eccentric, but fascinating Belgian with his little grey cells.  I remained with letter C for a good few months and when the next Poirot book I wanted wasn’t available, I took up Christie’s Jane Marple series whilst I waited for the book I really wanted to be returned.  If there was no Poirot or Marple to read I started the Tommy and Tuppence Beresford stories.
Of course, by this time, I’d been rumbled.  It was a chance meeting in the local post office between my mum and the library lady and her need to enquire if my dad was enjoying all the detective fiction his daughter kept getting him on her own library card.  That necessitated a talk from my father about honesty and a trip with him to the library to apologise to the librarian for fibbing.  But the best bit wasn’t expected.  My dad then went onto say that he hoped my reading habits would not be questioned again and that I could read detective fiction as much as I liked with his blessing.  Until that point I had had no idea that my father found detective fiction interesting.  From then on my choice of books was always a subject for discussion, often with him recommending other writers such as Simenon, Conan Doyle and many, many others.
Regrettably dad is no longer around, but I have often wondered what he would have thought or said if he knew that the day we went to library would set me on the path that would culminate with me creating my own detective and writing my own cosy crime stories.